Even with great web design and a solid SEO strategy, you won’t make any sales if your web copy fails to convert your visitors.
Copywriting is one of the most important skills you can learn as an affiliate marketer.
If you decide to outsource, you still need to know what good copywriting looks like to make sure you are getting value for money.
In this article, were going to cover the best practices and top tips for writing:
- Converting sales copy
- Eye-catching headlines
- Compelling email subject lines
- Engaging newsletters
The techniques you’ll learn aren’t limited to these formats.
For example, once you know how to write an eye-catching headline, you can use the same principles to optimize your ad copy.
Before we get into it, let’s quickly go over the basics.
- What is Copywriting?
- 10 Copywriting Tips for Writing Killer Sales Copy
- Highlight the Benefits, Not the Features
- Use Power Words
- Make Your Copy Look Good on the Page
- Focus on Solving Pain Points
- Take an Opposite Approach to Stand Out
- Use the Same Tone and Language as Your Audience
- Get Specific
- Make Your Copy a Slippery Slide
- Include a Strong Call to Action (CTA)
- Measure Performance and Optimize Your Copy
- How to Write Killer Headlines and Catchy Email Subject Lines
- How to Write a Newsletter
What is Copywriting?
At its base level, copywriting is the skill of writing persuasive web pages, content, emails, ads, etc.
The goal of copywriting is to convince the reader to take action.
For affiliate marketing, that action is usually persuading people to click on your affiliate link and purchase a product.
There’s a bunch of tactics and promotional strategies that contribute to a well-rounded affiliate marketing website...
...But copywriting is the skill that underpins the success of all of these strategies.
Being able to write great copy will help you to convert your readers and subscribers into customers.
10 Copywriting Tips for Writing Killer Sales Copy
The goal of your sales copy is to convince the reader to take action.
As an affiliate marketer, you only get paid when somebody clicks on your affiliate link and converts on the offer you’re promoting.
Here are 10 tips to help you make your sales copy more impactful and generate more conversions:
1. Highlight the Benefits, Not the Features
This is copywriting 101.
Features don’t sell products, benefits do.
The benefits are much more important to your reader than the features of the product.
Let’s say you are promoting an umbrella.
The umbrella is manufactured using a wind-resistant fabric and reinforced spokes.
Those are the features.
The benefit would be that you can stay dry even in windy conditions that would break an inferior umbrella.
People want to know the benefits they will receive by purchasing the product.
Features are important for showing people what is included, but they won’t convince anybody to part with their cash and click on your affiliate link to make a purchase.
You should always lead with the benefits in your sales copy.
After discussing the benefits, you can move on to the features.
The benefits provide a reason for people to be interested.
The features detail what’s included in the offer and provide information that people can use to compare your offer to competitors.
2. Use Power Words
Certain words are more effective at getting people to take action.
These are called power words.
There are hundreds of power words you can use to make your copy more impactful.
Jon Morrow has compiled a list of over 800 that you can check out.
Here’s an explainer for one of the most impactful power words:
People love free stuff…
...And simply using the word can make a huge impact on the reader.
Here’s a real-life example of how much of an impact the power word “free” can make.
When Amazon started to offer free shipping for orders over a specific price, it saw a massive boost to its number of sales.
However, the French division of Amazon didn’t use the same pricing system. Instead, it offered shipping at one franc for qualifying orders.
One franc was the equivalent of about 20 cents.
Despite the difference in price being minimal, French consumers didn’t embrace the offer.
When Amazon changed the pricing to match the free shipping being used elsewhere, France quickly caught up with sales growth.
That’s the power of the word “free.”
A New Mode uses power words in its copy to convince its website visitors to subscribe to its email list:
You can see the word “free” is used multiple times in the copy.
It’s also highlighted in bold and all caps to give it extra emphasis and attract the reader’s attention.
The words “exclusive access” are also highlighted.
Well placed power words can help you to make your message stronger and your offers more appealing.
3. Make Your Copy Look Good on the Page
If your copy doesn’t look inviting, nobody is going to spend their time reading it.
Internet users have short attention spans, and there are a bunch of other websites and content out there competing for their attention.
How can you make your copy more visually appealing?
- A font that is easy to read
- Short sentences and paragraphs
- Bulleted lists
- Use of images to break up the text
The words you use are vital to the strength of your copy, but it also needs to look good on the page.
4. Focus on Solving Pain Points
The most compelling copy agitates a pain point and presents the offer as a solution.
What is a pain point?
A pain point is a common problem that your audience experiences.
It’s something that bothers them and something that they want to fix or overcome.
Here’s an example from Trifecta Nutrition:
As you can see in the screenshot, the first paragraph targets a common pain point when it comes to losing weight and dieting.
Lots of people find it hard to stick to a diet.
The second paragraph shows empathy before encouraging the reader to check out the solutions provided in the rest of the copy.
You can make your copy more compelling by targeting a pain point and highlighting how your offer can help your audience to solve it.
5. Take an Opposite Approach to Stand Out
If you’re an affiliate in a crowded market, it can be challenging to cut through the noise if your copy sounds like every other website in your niche.
A great technique to overcome this problem is to put a new spin on your copy by taking an opposite approach.
Let’s stick with weight loss as an example.
If you’re in the weight loss niche, most of your readers will have already heard the typical advice.
More exercise, fewer calories.
Every weight loss niche website is covering the same advice.
However, if you can take an opposite approach, you can stand out from the crowd.
Lots of people fail to stick to a diet because they lose discipline and give in to their cravings.
Try It Diet Sisters uses an opposite approach to create eye-catching headlines and copy that differentiate its copy from other websites covering the same topics.
Here’s an example:
It combines the opposites of weight loss and chocolate in the same copy.
Once it has captured the audiences’ attention, the copy explains how chocolate can be part of a balanced diet that can still result in weight loss.
6. Use the Same Tone and Language as Your Audience
People are more likely to trust you and your recommendations if you talk to them in the language they use every day.
Using the same phrases, words, and tone of voice as your audience makes you more likable.
Your audience can recognize themselves in your writing.
Affiliate marketing is about building relationships.
By speaking in the same language as your audience, you can build trust and more easily persuade them.
For example, if you’re targeting an older audience, speaking to them like a teenager won’t inspire confidence and trust in your offers and recommendations.
7. Get Specific
You might think that claiming your affiliate product is used by tens of thousands of people around the world might sound impressive…
…But it runs the risk of coming across as marketing hyperbole.
It’s always better to use specific numbers where possible.
Specific numbers catch the eye and sound more credible.
Here’s an example from Web Work Travel:
The landing page that encourages people to join the Facebook group.
It uses specific numbers to highlight the number of people that have already joined the group.
If you can get even more specific than Web Work Travel and list an accurate, specific number, that’s even better.
8. Make Your Copy a Slippery Slide
The best performing copy provides a reason for the reader to keep moving down the page.
A slippery slide.
That starts with a compelling headline.
We’ll cover headlines in the next section.
The headline gives people a reason to read the first sentence.
The first sentence gives people a reason to move onto the next.
Each sentence should serve a purpose, with anything unnecessary deleted.
Every paragraph of your copy should work in unison to keep the reader moving down the page and reach your CTA at the bottom.
When they reach your CTA, they should be ready to commit and take up your offer.
Keep thinking about your audience when you write your copy, and in the editing stage.
Put yourself in their shoes and think about how they will respond when they finish reading each section of your copy.
- Are there any confusing sentences?
- Will they get bored by the end of this paragraph?
- Is this sentence necessary?
You want to make it as interesting and as easy to read as possible.
Anything over complicated or tedious will cause your reader to lose concentration, and you could miss out on a conversion.
9. Include a Strong Call to Action (CTA)
What do you want people to do after reading your copy?
Buy your affiliate product?
Opt-in to your email list?
You should have a clear next step that you want people to take.
A call-to-action does just that.
It makes it clear what action you want people to do next.
Here’s an example of CTA from Roasty Coffee:
The CTA is the focal point of the page.
It makes it very clear what the user should do next.
Once you’ve come up with your CTA, you can experiment with different colors, button sizes, etc., to see how you can increase the number of conversions.
10. Measure Performance and Optimize Your Copy
It’s essential to track your performance and make improvements to make your copy even more impactful.
Here’s an example from a study by Carnegie Mellon University of how small improvements can make a big difference.
The research team at Carnegie Melton wanted to see how a single change could impact conversions and sales.
They set up a trial offer and created two versions of the sales copy to show to customers.
Only one phrase was changed.
The first offer used “a $5 fee”.
The second offer used “a small $5 fee”.
The experiment results showed that the sales copy using “a small $5 fee” resulted in 20% more conversions.
Just by including the word “small” people were much more likely to take up the offer.
When it comes to your copy, you should always measure your performance and look for small ways to make incremental improvements.
How to Write Killer Headlines and Catchy Email Subject Lines
Headlines and email subject lines play a vital role in getting eyeballs on your copy.
They’re the first thing your audience will see.
A killer headline isn’t a “nice to have,” it’s essential.
The same goes for your email subject lines.
Research from HubSpot shows that 47% of marketers test out multiple subject lines to improve their email campaigns’ performance.
So how do you craft compelling headlines and email subject lines?
Let’s cover the headlines first.
1. Highlight the Benefits
Your headline is what causes people to click and read your copy.
It needs to give people a reason to read the first sentence.
A great way to make your headline more clickable is to highlight the value and benefit people will get.
You need to know who your target audience is and what they are looking to achieve.
Entrepreneur does an excellent job of highlighting the benefit that people can receive from reading their copy:
It isn’t targeting large scale professional investors.
Instead, the headline qualifies the audience and highlights the benefit they can receive.
$1,000 is an amount that is suited to someone looking to make their first steps into investments…
…And “Make Money” is pretty on the nose benefit for what a first-time investor wants to achieve.
Identify the core benefit of your copy, and make that clear in your headline.
2. Make It Easy
Let’s be honest.
If you had to decide between a harder and longer option or a quick and easy option, which one would you pick?
The quick and easy option.
That’s human nature.
You can get more clicks and visitors by using your headline to highlight your core benefit and making it sound easy to achieve.
The key to this tactic is to emphasize the result that people want to achieve, not the process they need to go through.
Here’s an example from Money Aware:
The benefit is clear, and the headline makes it sound as though it can be easily achieved.
It offers intrigue and the promise of learning something without mentioning the process and the input required from the reader.
3. Make an Eye-Catching Statement
You can attract more attention by adding some controversy or shock factor to your headline.
Matthew Woodward utilizes an opinionated statement headline for his review of RankMath:
Matthew Woodward’s audience is knowledgeable about SEO and internet marketing…
...And the majority of his audience have probably used or are currently using the Yoast SEO plugin.
By making a bold statement in the headline, the audience is sure to want to know the reasons why.
Why is he ditching the Yoast SEO plugin for RankMath?
You can increase your click-through rate and views by placing a controversial statement in your headline that gives a reason for people to keep reading.
4. Ask a Question
Question headlines are an excellent way to grab the attention of the reader and spark curiosity.
It’s human instinct to want to find out the answer to a question…
…And your audience can only do that by clicking and reading the rest of your content.
It’s important to get to grips with your audiences’ needs and pose a question where you know they will want to find out the answer.
Here’s a good example of a question headline by iMore:
The article is an affiliate review for the iPhone 11 Pro.
The headline poses a question that lots of people interested in the product will want to know.
People interested in the latest iPhone probably already have an older version…
...And they want to know whether it is worth the money to upgrade to the latest model.
5. Include Numbers
Numbered lists present information in an easily understandable format that is perfect for the shortened attention span of the modern internet user.
This is a proven tactic for increasing click-throughs and engagement.
According to a study by Conductor, headlines that feature numbers are 36% more popular than headlines without numbers.
Buzzfeed uses numbered headlines for the majority of its articles:
However, not all numbered headlines are created equal.
BuzzSumo conducted a study of over 100 million headlines and discovered that some numbers perform better than others:
You can make your headlines more engaging by using this information to inform your choice of items included in “best of” listicles and product roundups.
Email Subject Lines
1. Keep It Short
If your subject line is too long, it will be cut off in your subscribers’ inbox.
According to eMail Monday, around 50% of emails are opened on mobile devices.
To make sure your email subject line is seen in full, limit the length to 50 characters or less.
This also makes it easier for people to scan your subject line.
According to Aweber, the average email subject line is 43.85 characters:
You can reduce your subject line length by removing words that don’t add any value to your message.
For example, if you’re sending out a newsletter to your list of subscribers, don’t take up precious space in your subject line by including the word “newsletter.”
Including a word like “newsletter” can actually reduce the chances of the receiver opening the email.
When the receiver knows that the email is part of a series, they feel like they can afford to miss it and catch up with the next newsletter.
2. Use Action Words
Email subject lines perform the same job as a headline or a CTA.
They need to compel the user to commit to an action - to open the email.
You can increase the chances of your email being opened by including an action word in the subject line.
Let’s take a look at an example.
This is an email subject line that WIRED sent out to its list of subscribers:
Watch Out for This Amazon Phishing Scam
The email is engaging and actionable.
It stands out in the inbox and creates curiosity that makes you want to click through and read the email.
The use of a big name brand like Amazon with a negative phrase like “phishing scam” also increases the urgency of the message and encourages people to open the email.
3. Ask a Question
Just like a headline, asking a question in your email subject line is a great way to attract attention.
The key to a question subject line is to target a pain point that you know your audience suffers from.
You can engage your audience emotionally and compel them to open your email.
For example, let’s say that you are promoting project management software to an audience of business managers.
Your affiliate product helps teams to be more efficient with their time.
To get your email respondents to open your promotional email, you need a subject line that plays on a pain point - the inefficiency of their current system.
You could use a subject line like this:
“Are you still using email to manage your projects?”
This question agitates the pain point and engages the recipient of the email.
4. Don’t Use All Caps
This is a simple rule, but it’s one that many new email marketers overlook.
Sending an all caps subject line isn’t going to do you any favors.
It won’t increase your email open rate.
The vast majority of people will ignore your email, and some might even report it as spam.
You wouldn’t shout at your subscribers in the street, so don’t use an email subject line that looks like this:
“CHECK OUT THIS AMAZING OFFER AND GET A 20% DISCOUNT TODAY!!!”
This is a sure-fire way to annoy your subscribers.
According to a study by Radicati Group, 85% of people prefer an all-lowercase subject line compared to an all-caps subject line.
Aweber surveyed email marketing experts, with 60% of respondents stating that they use sentence-case capitalization for their marketing emails:
None of the respondents used all-caps.
Think of yourself as a guest in your subscribers’ inbox.
You want to attract attention, but you don’t want to be annoying.
5. Make It Clear What You Are Offering
Your email is on borrowed time from the moment it lands in your recipient’s inbox.
Don’t beat around the bush or try to be too smart with your subject line.
What is it that you are offering?
Get to the point and make it obvious to the recipient what is contained in the email.
For example, let’s say you are sending out a free golf buggy buyer’s guide ebook to your list of subscribers.
You want to make it clear what is included in your email.
Don’t go for something cryptic and overly creative like:
“Get from hole 1 to hole 18 in style!!!.”
Keep it simple, and make it clear precisely what you are offering in the email:
“Free Ebook: Golf Buggy Buyer’s Guide 2020”
How to Write a Newsletter
A newsletter is a great way to engage your list of subscribers, drive traffic to your latest posts, and promote your affiliate offers.
…But to get the most out of your list of subscribers, you need to know how to write a newsletter that will encourage your audience to take action and generate clicks.
Here are 7 top tips to help you write newsletters that get results.
1. Focus on Offering Value
Your audience doesn’t care about you and your affiliate products.
They are interested in how you can help them to overcome their problems and achieve their goals.
Don’t bombard your subscribers with overly-promotional emails.
That’s a fast way to burn out your list and see your list of subscribers shrink.
According to research by Marketing Sherpa, 19% of people unsubscribe because the sender is always trying to sell a product or service:
How many times have you unsubscribed from a newsletter because they were continually pushing sales content?
The way to overcome this challenge and nurture your list towards making a purchase is to focus on making your newsletters valuable.
Educate your readers, offering useful content that helps them to gain a better understanding of their problems/challenges.
You can still include affiliate links, but these should be the next step users should take after reading the educational content in your newsletter.
It’s different if your subscribers opted-in for daily deals or a coupon newsletter…
…But if they signed up for regular educational content, don’t go overboard with promotional newsletters.
2. Identify a Single Goal and Stick to It
People spend less time reading an email than they do reading a blog post.
If you want your email to make an impact, keep the message simple and easy to understand.
Before you start writing your newsletter, you should have a clear goal in mind.
You could be promoting an affiliate offer, driving traffic to a landing page, or getting sign-ups for a webinar.
Whatever you want to achieve, pick a single goal for your newsletter.
If you try and cram in lots of goals into a single email, you can dilute your message and confuse your subscribers.
Once you’ve identified your goal and what you are offering to your audience, introduce it at the start of your newsletter.
Use the body of your newsletter to discuss the benefits of your offer, and finish with a compelling conclusion and a strong CTA.
3. Craft a Compelling Opening
We’ve already discussed the importance of a killer email subject line in the previous section.
The first line of your email is the second most important part of your newsletter.
The majority of email inboxes display a small part of the email message.
People can see some of the first line of your email without clicking open.
If you have a short subject line, your email’s first line can take up to three times more space in the inbox.
This is true for both desktop and mobile email inboxes.
The first line of your email can have a significant impact on whether your email is opened…
…And it plays a vital role in convincing the receiver to keep reading once they have opened the email.
You can use some of the same tactics for writing headlines to make your opening line as engaging as possible.
- Ask a question
- Make a bold statement
- Be clear about the benefits
Here’s an excellent example of an email from Neil Patel:
The first line of the email is intriguing and incites curiosity in the reader.
It builds on that curiosity before providing a link at the bottom of the email.
If the reader wants to know the “big marketing mistake,” they need to click on the link and visit the website.
4. Add Visual Elements to Make Your Newsletter More Appealing
According to Nielsen Norman Group, subscribers spend an average of 51 seconds reading a newsletter.
Including visual content is a great way to communicate your message to your subscribers quickly.
Visual content, like images, videos, and infographics, makes it easier for your subscribers to scan your newsletter and understand your message.
According to research by Campaign Monitor, Including videos in your emails can result in 65% more clicks and a 19% increase in open rates.
If you use images in your newsletter, try to maintain a visual hierarchy and avoid a cluttered newsletter design.
Here’s an example of a cluttered newsletter from Home Depot:
This “busy” design distracts from the message of the email.
Use images to break up your text and make your newsletter more visually appealing.
5. Don’t Be Vague or Ambiguous
Make sure that your readers can easily understand your message and what you are asking them to do.
Almost half of emails are opened on mobile devices.
Smaller screen sizes and the limited attention spans of mobile users mean that your newsletter needs to be easy to read, concise, and engaging.
You should write your newsletter in a “mobile-friendly” style:
- Short sentences
- Limit paragraphs to a maximum of 3 sentences
- Try to use simple words and phrases
- Use white space and images to break up blocks of text
It’s also important to keep your writing style similar to the tone of your website.
If you cover personal finance and utilize a serious tone on your website, keep your newsletters’ style similar.
6. Write a Persuasive Closing Paragraph
The closing of your newsletter is vital for conversions.
You want to wrap up what you covered in the newsletter and include a compelling CTA that encourages the reader to take the next step.
What do you want the reader to do after reading your newsletter?
Visit a merchant landing page?
Read your blog post?
Download a free resource?
You need to make it absolutely clear what the reader should do next.
Getting your readers to click on your CTA is the whole purpose of your newsletter.
Here’s an example of a strong and clear CTA from MarTech Alliance:
The CTA button is the most prominent element of the email.
It’s explicit what action the reader should take next.
7. Measure Your Results
You can measure the performance of your newsletters and optimize elements to make them even more effective.
Email marketing is such a valuable channel for affiliates because it allows you to measure every aspect.
Every decent email marketing provider offers analytics to help you monitor your email performance.
Once you have sent out a newsletter, you want to check your analytics for:
- Open rates
- Click-through rates
If your newsletter is seeing a poor conversion rate, try to identify why.
The same goes for newsletters that perform well.
Analyzing your emails’ performance will help you improve your copywriting, increase conversions, and make more money from your list of subscribers.
You can even send out different versions of your newsletter to see which types of subject lines, opening lines, CTAs, etc., see the most conversions.
Limit your testing to one element at a time to make accurate judgments for optimization.
Copywriting is one of the most valuable skills you can learn as an affiliate.
It’s not something that you want to outsource when you are starting out.
Once you have nailed the basics of copywriting, you’ll know what to look for when you hire a copywriter.
Practice your craft and measure your performance to see how you can improve.
By sharpening your copywriting skills, you’ll be able to generate more sales and grow your affiliate income.